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Georgia Baseball loses to NC State, season at stake

ATHENS, Georgia — Georgia baseball's season ended Monday night at Foley Field when the Bulldogs lost 8-5 to NC State in Game 3 of the Athens Super Regional. It was all over in the Classic City, and the Wolfpack will be playing in the College World Series. For UGA, meanwhile, it's a tough loss in the program's biggest game in over 15 seasons.

After two scoreless innings on the field, Tre Phelps got Georgia going with a two-run home run to start the second inning. The young man, who was named a Freshman All-American by the National College Baseball Writers of America earlier in the day, didn't quite get it out of the batter's eye as far as he did yesterday, but he did manage to get it over the center field wall to give the Dawgs a 2-0 lead.

NC State responded quickly, however. In his next at-bat, Garrett Pennington singled with a runner on board to even the score.

Georgia starting pitcher Zach Harris was able to avoid too much damage with the seven hits he allowed in the first three innings, but in the fourth inning a leadoff double by Matt Heavner was enough to bring the Bulldogs' bullpen onto the field.

Wes Johnson handed the game back to Saturday’s starter Colton Smithand when the inning was over, the Dawgs were trailing. A walk and a sacrifice bunt gave State runners on second and third base with just one out. Then the lead runner scored on a passed ball before Noah Soles singled just out of reach of Charlie Condon at third base. This made it 4-2 for the Wolfpack.

Georgia threatened in the fifth, filling the bases with one out after a Clayton Chadwick double, Kolby Branch Single and a Corey Collins Hit by Pitch. After a pitcher change from NC State starter Logan Whitaker to Wolfpack top relief pitcher Jacob Dudan, Condon and Slate Alford went down in order and UGA left empty-handed. Then State opened the sixth with a home run by Eli Serrano to make it 5-2.

UGA pulled one back in the second half of the inning. Phelps got his third hit in three at-bats before leading off with a single by Dillon CarterHe would score with a Sacrifice Fly By Fernando Gonzalezbut a solo home run from Eli Serrano In the next inning, NC State quickly regained momentum.

Smith would be lifted up for Brian Zeldinanother Georgia relief pitcher who had already pitched in the series. He quickly made two outs and gave the Bulldogs back control.

Once again, Georgia managed to score a hit. The inning began with a Collins walk and a Condon hit by pitch. Then NC State brought their closer Derrick Smith into the bullpen. He allowed a deep fly out to center on Alford's first pitch before Dylan Goldstein Collins scored with a groundout, but that was all for the Dawgs.

The eighth inning continued with Georgia scoring and State answering. After one out in a 1-2-3 inning, NC State was able to extend its batting run long enough for Alec Makarewicz to make the Bulldogs pay for it. He hit a two-run home run to right center, the Wolfpack's fourth of the game, to make it 8-4.

Georgia attempted a comeback in the ninth inning, still trailing by four, but it was in vain. Condon hit his 37th home run of the season, likely his last batting appearance of his Bulldogs career, but Georgia could do no further damage. Phelps flied out to center fielder Serrano and NC State pounced on Foley Field.

This loss ends Georgia's season, which boasts an overall record of 43-17. The Bulldogs have come farther than any UGA team since 2008 and have won more games, both overall and in SEC play (17), than any other team led by a first-year head coach. Over a dozen players are no longer eligible, while others are waiting for the results of the MLB Draft in July to decide whether or not to return. Georgia has already spent a lot of transfer potential, signing seven players, including several highly regarded for their respective positions.

Anna Harden

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